An anchoring knock that yielded a century for Dilshan and incisive spell of bowling that broke the back of the opposition batting by Perera helped Sri Lanka win the second one-dayer against Pakistan by 76 runs.
Set to chase a big target of 281, Pakistan, who were playing only five specialist batsmen, definitely began with a disadvantage. But a steady start that Hafeez and Azhar provided gave the team hope. Hafeez became Perera’s first victim before Younis became his second scalp. Azhar and Misbah then engaged in the biggest partnership of the innings before Perera came back to pick Misbah and Akmal, thus breaking the back of Pakistan’s innings. Azhar who was batted well at the other end, soon started running out of partners. At 139 for 4 in the 34th over, the chase had become stiffer, and when Afridi failed to deliver the target look impossible. Perera came back to pick two more wickets to complete a six-wicket spell as Pakistan’s innings ended at 204. Azhar made 94.
Sri Lanka who had had a poor batting performance in the first one-day international, needed to do much better. They shuffled the batting line-up to provide solidity. Dilshan batted with responsibility, aiming to last as long as possible as he built partnerships. He compiled 37 and 47 with Tharanga and Sangakkara respectively. With Chandimal he put 70 runs on board before making 86 with Jayawardene. Mahela’s knock of 53 off only 45 balls gave the innings the momentum as Dilshan provided the steel. Pererra then came and blasted 24 runs off only 14 balls as Sri Lanka reached 280.
The win leaves the series tied at 1-1 with three matches left to play.